Better cues & mental practice to improve skillful movements: Are external focus cues better than internal focus cues? It depends

By Damien Howell

Coaches, athletes, healthcare professionals, verbal cues, use mantras, self-talk, visual imagery, and skill training to improve movement. There are many cognitive strategies commonly used to improve human movement to move faster, farther, injury-free, and/or just look better moving. Types of cues: A substantial amount of research in the area of motor learning examines different types…

Read More

Gait Deviations Musculoskeletal Pain Syndromes: Is there a gait deviation or cluster of gait deviations which is common across musculoskeletal pain syndromes?

By Damien Howell

Gait deviations are considered risk factors and/or causative drivers for musculoskeletal pain syndromes. There is a growing body of research showing a relationship between gait deviations and musculoskeletal pain syndromes injuries: shin pain (here, & here,) ; patella-femoral arthralgia (here); IT band syndrome; Achilles pain; plantar heel pain (here, & here). There is growing consensus…

Read More

Physical Therapy Telehealth: It works well for some, not for others

By Damien Howell

The COVID 19 pandemic crisis has many challenges for the standard everyday health care and medicine. The pandemic resulted in a sudden increase of telehealth services. There are reports there has been an 18% increase in the number of healthcare providers providing telehealth services in response because of the pandemic. Healthcare providers and patients are…

Read More

Low-Tech Slow-Motion Analysis – “Dance Step to Nowhere

By Damien Howell

Deviant movement during walking contributes to the development of or compensation for musculoskeletal pain syndromes. Diagnosis and treatment occur with visual observation and analysis of gait. The use of a smartphone video facilitates the analysis of motion walking. However, there are times when less technological motion analysis is necessary. When dealing with painful musculoskeletal syndromes…

Read More

Symptom modification of painful gait

By Damien Howell

Symptom modification procedure is common practice in the Physical Therapy profession. This procedure involves identifying the specific movement, posture, and/or activity that reproduces the patient’s symptoms. Historically diagnosis of musculoskeletal problems was based on examination which selectively provoked musculoskeletal tissues by compressing or stretching the various tissues to provoke the symptoms. This provided direction for…

Read More

Pain walking/running deviant gait – self treat &/or seek expert assistance

By Damien Howell

Experiencing pain when walking or running can be a complex problem. Asserting a hypothesis is a systematic way to solve complex problems. A hypothesis is an “if then statement” or conditional statement which can be tested, accepted, or refuted. Hypothesis: If you have pain walking and/or running, then gait analysis to determine if there is…

Read More

As a patient, how do I get my healthcare provider more engaged in my care plan?

By Damien Howell

The goal of any relationship between a healthcare provider and patient is that both parties feel they are invested in favorable health outcomes. How they get there is the question. The underlying assumption is that a high degree of engagement from the provider and the patient will result in better outcomes, costs less, and may…

Read More

How to exercise to lose weight when exercise is painful

By Damien Howell

High body mass index (BMI) is significant factor in low back pain, osteoarthritis; hip osteoarthritis; knee osteoarthritis, plantar heel pain. Weight loss intervention for pain reduction Decreasing body weight is an effective intervention to decrease musculoskeletal pain. Research by Stephen Messier at Wake Forest U, looking at individuals with painful osteoarthritis of the knee who…

Read More

Healthcare Whisperer versus Con Artist

By Damien Howell

The popular idiom of a “whisperer” is used to describe an individual who has special skills to interact with humans or animals to alter behavior and achieve outcomes that others cannot. What are the characteristics of a whisperer? A whisperer: Has high level of empathy Has specialized skills Focuses is understanding Uses body language communication…

Read More